Wednesday, October 26, 2005

(upsidedown question mark) Donde esta el bano?

Very soon, Shawn and I will be leaving the country to visit the largest cuidad in the world, Mexico City. We're staying there for 3 days and then traveling on to a smaller city that begins with the letter "T" (I think) and then Acapulco and one other place and back to el Cuidad de Mexico. I am afraid I will see too many starving dogs to enjoy it, not to mention the poor people. My friend Kali said to think of the dogs in Mexico differently since their culture doesn't view dogs in the same way we do. She said, Think of the dogs as squirrels. This idea helps for some reason, at least in an abstract way. I'm not sure how I'll feel when faced with their bony bodies. (By the way, in preparation for our trip, we rented Amores los Perros ["Love is a Bitch"] last week which is [in part] about dog-fighting. Last night, Shawn had rented Frida which should be called Diego because it's mostly about Diego Rivera and his work and success or about their relationship, but not very much about her life as an artist or any insight into her psyche. I read some things about her this afternoon for about 15 mintues and I feel like the producers of the movie also did about 15 minutes of Internet research before making the movie. Selma Hayek was beautiful as Frida despite the caterpillar eyebrow). I think I'll bring a gun just in case I need to shoot any of the starving dogs to put them out of their misery. We may also be mugged and/or kidnapped for ransom. The mugging would be more beneficial for the muggees because my family doesn't really have any money to give them for my safe return. My stepdad could probably scrape together about $350 but that's it. Shawn has said that if we're mugged, I should just act retarded. The last thing I'm worried about it being infected by a horrible bacteria and soiling myself in the middle of a museum. I will carry around an extra pair of underwear just in case and maybe some shennanigans will result that incorporate all 3 of my fears in a favorable way. Like, I'll be in the middle of being mugged by a guy and when I pull out my wallet a pair of dirty underwear will fly out and hit him in the face just as a starving dog lunges at his pocket filled with beef jerky. That's what would happen if it were a Drew Barrymore movie. We're renting a car instead of taking public transportation. Shawn has assured me that we won't be hijacked in the car or crashed into, but he mentioned last night that he's not sure how great the highways are leading from Mexico City to where we're going. He's been studying Spanish diligently in preparation and I have been absorbing it by proxy. Oh, here's a fourth thing I don't want to have happen: I drink too much tequila and puke for three days straight. I can't wear my contacts either because of the smog.

La Cuidad de Mexico con el negro perro

We'll be there for the Dia del Muerto, their celebration in remembrance of the dead. From what I read, we won't be trick or treating, but we may eat floured tortillas on a grave. I was snotty about the art work; picturing big Aztec or Southwestern type crap until Shawn took me into a Mexican art store on South street...Still lots of ornate, bright pieces, some of which were really cool. We will not be returning with sombreros, so help me Dios.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Hostess with the Okayest

The party went fine, though no one hooked up or got into a fight or anything else. The most interesting thing that happened was that I gave a Columbian guy a peek at my right nipple. It was in front of a bunch of people within the context of the conversation about how my dress was lowcut and dangerous. I went and told Shawn right away. He was unfazed, probably because he ran around in a banana hammock last year asking girls to help him find his keys (which were stuffed in his crotch). I don't really like hosting parties unless everyone promises to have the best time of their lives, to go home before 2 AM, to not spill or break anyting or throw up on the floor or on anyone else, to bring and leave behind tons of good alcohol, and to love me, my apartment, and the tiny carrots I threw on a tray for snacks. Even Jimmy was fairly well behaved. He did talk to Shawn's boss about poop, but he always talks about poop. He also spun around on the dance floor with beer flying in all directions. For him, this is tame. Last year, he bent over and showed me his entire asshole, threatened to punch my friend Liz (he shook his fist at her, saying, You people and your feather boas!), and kept throwing himself on the floor to pop the green balloons on his costume that were meant to make him look like a bunch of grapes on a Mad Dog bottle. No one did anything untoward, which is slightly disappointing. The best part of the evening was when I walked out of the bedroom and saw Luke and Liz and Shawn dancing in the middle of the living room and realized everyone else had gone home. We danced in our socks with the strobe lights flashing and then I cleaned up all the sticky cups. Shawn was convinced not to go as the actual crucifixed Jesus in a droppy diaper type loincloth with a crucifix strapped to his back and instead was kind of a hip hop Jesus with tattoos. He got to spend the whole night with his shirt off which I think was his main wish. I was a mermaid caught in a net. With her one boob showing accidentally.

Oh, one other idea for you since the real Halloween isn't here yet: You could wear 1950s clothes and a pair of those nerdy glasses with one of the lenses smashed and then attach a fake crow to your head or your shoulers or all over and add blood running down your face and you are suddenly from Hitchcock's The Birds.

Friday, October 21, 2005

You May Steal Any of These Ideas, But Footnote Me

Every year around Halloween, I obsess about costumes. I have 3 C's for my Halloween costumes:

(1). Cute. My friend Jodie once went as Gus the Rotarian. She had a bald wig, moustache, and a pillow stuffed underneath a business suit. She was very funny and unrecognizable. I am not this brave. I still want to be moderately attractive. I don't mind being covered in blood (I prefer it), but I want to be a pretty corpse at least.
(2). Comfortable. I will never go as anything requiring me to wear a box or a ten pound headdress. I need to be able to sit down and walk with ease.
(3). Clever. I don't want to go as a cat or a cheerleader or a fairy or a football player. (*Halloween costume tip #1: If you do find yourself having to go in one of these costumes, just add blood and/or the implication of violence and it's much more interesting. Like, be a cat that's been run over, or a serial killer cheerleader or a fairy with an arrow through its head or a football player in a body cast and you're golden).

Here was my idea for this year: Sylvia Plath. See, because I'm going to be a hostess to a party on Saturday, I thought I could go as her...this sort of hostess prototype in a way... and wear a 1950s dress with a string of pearls and carry around a tray loaded with martinis, but I could add the death part too. For non English majors, Sylvia Plath was a poet who killed herself by sticking her head in the oven and inhaling carbon monoxide. I thought I could blacken my face, burn up part of the blond wig, and draw a grill on the side of my face and it would be funny. But I realized as I was explaining my idea to the 15 year old kid at the costume store that I would be spending the whole night doing the this very same thing; telling people who I was supposed to be (Halloween costume tip #2: Never go as anything too obscure or you will have to explain yourself every 5 seconds and begin to hate everyone around you who just isn't SMART ENOUGH to know who Abbey Hoffman is). So F Sylvia Plath. But, hey, you should go for it if you're invited to a party hosted by the graduate English department in your area. You might also consider: Virginia Woolf (find a fake nose and carry rocks around in your apron pockets), Anne Sexton (a poet who, like Plath, killed herself by inhaling carbon monoxide. She did it in the garage however), or, if you're a guy, dress all manly, drape a cat over your shoulders, wear a beard, and get one of those make-up kits that allows you to do shotgun victim and voile! Ernest Hemingway.

Well, so I'm not going as Sylvia Plath this year. I came up with something less obscure and less violent. I do still need a fake harpoon though, if you happen to own one.

During a very typically unimportant dept. meeting the other day, I made a list of 25 possible ideas. Here are the top 10 ideas, why I rejected them, and a glimpse into my dark and nerdy little heart:

1. Carrie during the pig blood at prom scene.
Reason rejected: how does one give the illusion of being doused in blood the entire night?

2. Freudian Slip. My personal fav since my roommate in college used it. You wear a slip and then a banner that reads "Freudian." RR: Maybe a little too clever for its own good. Plus I wore a banner last year as Miss Fortune. Plus it seemed too easy.

3. Marie Antoinette with a slit throat. RR: I'm not paying that kind of $$ required for a period costume and wig combo. Plus, her head was entirely chopped off so it's not really accurate to just have a slit throat.

4. One of Jack the Ripper's victims. RR: Though it would be fun to be a turn-of-the-century prostitute, it would be difficult to do this costume well without being totally gross or naked or both b/c, as Shawn informed me, Jack the Ripper sliced his victims up the middle. Walking around a party with your intestines hanging out is just impolite.

5. 1950's Girl Dead from a Drag Racing Accident. RR: Didn't realize until yesterday that you could buy shards of glass make-up kits. Will put this on my list for another year.

6. Drowned Ice Skater. RR: My friend Hoffer went as this for Halloween one year and looked really good, her face all blue with icicles in her hair. However, you really need to wear ice skates with the shields on them and I don't own any of those, plus it's uncomfortable, plus my ankles turn in when I wear ice skates.

7. Shawn's Dream Girl. If I could find a way to construct a low-cut dress made exclusively from atlases and road maps and wore that with my boobs hanging out, I would be my urban planner boyfriend very happy. RR: Too narrow. Only he and some of his friends would get it and I don't know where I would begin in making that dress.

8. Fashion victim. RR: This is still in the conceptual stage. Can't figure out how I would convey this idea though I picture leg warmers, gauchos, Vogue magazine, and cowboy boots + blood (it's always "+ blood").

9. Marionette skeleton from Dia del Muerto. Topical since we're going to Mexico City next week. RR: Don't want to walk around with my face painted like a skeleton all night and how would I do the puppet strings?

10. Sharon Tate. RR: I don't look anything like her. No one would no who I am, plus it's pretty sick and weird. Ditto Squeaky Fromme.

You may be happy to know that my final costume choice is very tame, not that violent, and not extremely clever. My friend Karen spent 4 hours at my house last night helping me make it (i.e. use the stapler and glue gun). On the final try on, she looked at me and said, Huh. It's cute. And it's definitely home-made looking. (Halloween costume tip #3: If you're making your costume using office supplies, it's going to suck).

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I Am Veal

I once had use of my legs. I once walked twenty minutes to and from work five days a week plus I would stand up for a few hours a day while teaching, plus I'd walk around town. Not in Philly. Here, I have two modes of being: driving in a car or sitting in a chair. These two modes are broken by periodic short walks to either get food or to pee. In State College, I actually had to walk outside and around the back of the apartment building to get to my car. Here, I park on the street so close to my building that I could reach out the apartment window to fish change out of the glove compartment of my car. I drive to work and park fourteen steps from the front door and walk another 20 steps to my swivel chair where I sit for 8 1/2 hours a day, expelling energy only from blinking and typing. Every once in awhile, I stand up and walk over to the candy dish near Karen's desk. At least once or twice a week, we must celebrate someone's something and are given sheet cake or chocolate chip cookies or Dunkin donuts or bagels with cream cheese. Then at 5 PM, I walk back out to my car, drive home, park three steps from my front door and am sitting at my home computer within 10 minutes. In other words, I have become white-collar veal. My friend Kali, who no longer works here, says she has lost pounds and pounds since she quit (she's working as a hostess now). Why don't I just give in completely and buy an electronic wheelchair?

I was complaining about this to my other friend Hasana, who teaches philosophy at McGill in Montreal, and she said she puts on her I-pod and walks 40 minutes to work and back and now her pants are falling off her and she still eats all the cake she wants.

This morning, I walked to work even though I don't own an I-pod (I asked Shawn if I could borrow his Walkman and he said, "Yeah, but Walkman's tend to skip around," as if I'd been using an I-pod my entire life). It took me about 35 minutes to get here (give or take a guilty stop at a mega coffee company who had an advertisement for a job fair scrawled across the chalkboard. I briefly considered giving up my cubicle life to become a barista. I changed my mind because I decided I would hate all the customers, such as the woman in front of me who was with her one year old and doing that thing where she was attributing all these brilliant thoughts and actions to her dumb baby. He pulls 6 CDs off the display and she says, "Oh! Does Brandon want Mommy to buy this for him? Does Brandon like mixed CDs?" No, Brandon's just a little asshole). I like walking. It makes me feel superior to people in cars. It reminds me that I live in an interesting city. Listening to Billy Bragg on the Walkman while walking up 4th street makes it much easier to pretend I'm in a movie about a spunky girl who refuses to let 8:30-5 life get her down. I have the chance to pet dogs. I don't get frustrated by the clot of traffic that trickles along 3rd street. I will probably never do it again, but at least today I have used my legs to get me to and fro.

A new way to get around town.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Draw-ling class has been cancelled indefinitely& other startling news flashes

Karen and I have temporarily to permanently decided not to attend drawing class. Last week, we stayed in because she was helping me organize the closet and ended up knocking down the clothing pole (and then fixing it with my Black and Decker power drill; my mom was very excited about buying one for me), and she was also sneezing and we hadn't had our delicious frozen dinners yet and so fuck it, we decided to watch the second episode of My So-Called Life instead of learning how to draw another grid over another famous painting we could never hope to replicate. Tonight, we will be searching for cowboy boots and other assorted Halloween items, so you can see, we just can't really be bothered with art.

My other exciting news is that Gretel caught a mouse Sunday. It was all fun and games until I heard the mouse squeak in terror. A little gray thing. Shawn kept saying, Oh, it's a baby! I was pleased with Gretel, but sad for the mouse. I went downstairs to open up the front of our apartment door in anticipation of one of us being able to save the mouse and set it free. Shawn followed me, saying, Do we have a shoebox? By the time we came back upstairs to try to do something about the mouse, it had escaped. Gretel has a Pavlovian attachment to sound of the front door opening as she's been allowed out on the front porch exactly 3 times. She sacrificed the mouse's freedom in hopes of gaining her own. Now I'm guessing we have a dead and decomposing baby mouse under our fridge. She was on mouse patrol last night again though...crouched by the refrigerator, waiting for the wounded mouse or its siblings to scurry out. She's a beast. And she's 17. You wouldn't think she had it in her to kill again, but she does.

I dreamt last night that Burger King decided to also sell denim dresses and an entire denim clothing line alongside their burgers; clothing very similar to the slut wear Guess sells. Then it morphed into me telling someone about the dream about BK and the clothes because I thought it was very clever of me to dream about crass commercialism. On a related note, why do they now have a scary plastic BK guy in all of their commercials? If I were a kid, I'd never want to go to Burger King just out of fear that the plastic-faced man might be lurking near the fry machine. Do you ever have the experience of watching an advertisement on TV and deciding you must be stoned or somehow altered by a gasoline leak because there's no way anyone would create such a thing? I thought that last night with the new Target ad, this long drawn-out video/commercial of red and white circles dropping out of the sky like rain. I couldn't spot a single product. The whole thing was based on the image of Target as...?? Acid rain?

Which reminds me of something else I thought of this weekend about how around Halloween time, especially in Philly but I've noticed this in other places too, you can often find yourself questioning if the person you're seeing on the street is seriously dressed that way or if it's a costume. In other words, are they from Jersey or are they on their way to a Halloween party?

Are any of these costumes?

P.S. In my search for bad fashion examples for this entry, found a
Vogue magazine layout thematically centered around Alice in Wonderland and shot by Annie Lebowitz. Hot, hot, hot.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Hot or Not

Is it okay to wear a pin on my sweater or does it automatically categorize me as one of those women who wear pins? Aren't pins coming back in along with the leg warmers and the gauchos (which I refuse to even consider)? It's not a wreath or a kitty cat or an angel. It's this head of a flapper girl in profile. I'm counteracting the pin with tiny-squared nude-colored mesh stockings and high brown boots plus an obnoxious sparkly ring so I'm hoping the pin looks somewhat ironic or whatever. And world hunger, massive devastation by our military, and the AIDS crisis in Africa continue, but does this pin look dumb?

We had two fashion casualties at work this week. One was this woman who wears clothes that are two sizes too small; she has a massive chest and it's always barely restrained by an off-white shell. Last year, her skirt was so short that when she sat down, you could see the control top of her panty hose. It's not that she's trying to look provocative. She just doesn't seem to be able to find clothes that fit. Anyway, the other day she wore a short skirt with a flared hem that fell just below her ass, high heels, a matching jacket, and the off-white shell again. She had forgotten to remove the huge price tags from the bottom of both shoes and so when she walked away, you were flashed with $29.99 over and over again. My friend told her and she said, You know, I just never pay attention to those things.

Yesterday, another employee was wearing a very dressy, low-cut jacket with a long black skirt with a high slit, black mesh stockings, and black combat boots. She looked like one of those flip-books from when you were little where you can change the head, torso, and legs so like the head is a princess, the body a pirate, and the legs from the ballerina.

I am a bitch.

This pin does not look good either, I've decided, but I'm committed to keeping it on for the rest of the day. Monday, I think I'll show up in my new sequined blouse and high waist khaki Dockers. Tuesday: a hounds tooth Talbot's blazer with a Victorian-necked shirt and flowing, ankle length calico Gunny Saks skirt. Wednesday: hump day! Time to turn up the heat with a zippered lime green pant suit with black flats. I’ll add a white kerchief around my neck for some flare and a white sailor hat. Then Thursday: Things really get heated up with the denim-squared vest over a white turtleneck and brown corduroy skirt with Docksiders. Friday: though we don't observe casual day on Friday in the winters, I'll risk getting written up for the sheer pleasure of wearing my new sweatshirt with the kittens tumbling across it, my white Reeboks, and black leggings. I'm sure I will be headed to HR by the end of the day what with all the wolf whistles and propositions that I'll evoke.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

On the next episode of Law and Order: An unsolved murder during a hurricane called "Catherina"

I confess that I watch Law and Order SVU and Law and Order SUV and Law and Order Criminal Intent and Law and Order Murder She Wrote and I never critiqued myself about it until Shawn came along and started groaning whenever the possibility of watching a L&O episode arose. Sunday night, I convinced him to watch Criminal Intent with me through sheer bribery that required me to rub his back for the whole hour and endure his comments about how dumb the show is and of course, it was an extremely bad example, i.e. Corbin Bernson was the guest star and you could see from a mile away that he was also the secret bad guy. L&O always has a secret bad guy; a character introduced early on as an aside who surfaces again later as the one who murdered all the co-eds because his mother forced him to wear cheerleading outfits as a boy. So by virtue of the fact that there's always a secret bad guy, you can pretty much guess who's responsible. But then the other thing that happens all the time is that they get these very miniscule clues that save their case at the last minute. In this one, they found an old envelope containing pink sand that could only, only be found in this one yard in all of the island of New York. In addition, the final moments of the show had Corbin (who was pretending to be a nice guy even though he'd hired an ex-con to kill his wife) illustrate his true colors with the duped wife watching on the other side of the secret cop mirror. Like, the smarmy detective goes, "Your wife wants to open this greeting card business. I think she's a great artist." And Corbin sneers back, "Yeah, if you like talent less bitches" or something like that--something you would never do if you were pretending to be in love with your wife to beat a jail sentence. Now Shawn will never watch it with me again.

But he was in Savannah last night, replanning their cityscape, so I was able to watch L&O in peace. Unfortunately, another pitfall of the show is that they try to keep things semi-topical and only slightly veiled with other stories. Like, after the Jeffrey Dahmer arrest, they had a similar show about a wire-rimmed glasses wearing weirdo gay cannibal named Joffrey Daimer (played by none other than Chad Lowe. No, he wasn't the actor in that one, though CL did appear as a cannibal of female flesh in more recent episode). Last night's episode was about none other than our balloon-following friend, Teri Schiavo. Except in this version, her name was Karen (just like that other persistent vegetable state person named Karen Anne Quindlan. Is this supposed to be a clever inside joke for people born before 1988?). They deviated from the story somewhat in that Teri's family blew up the husband to prevent him from removing the feeding tube, but still. The show was sympathetic of the family's plight, presenting this faux complex ethical question, Wouldn't you kill another person who was trying to murder your beloved and helpless family member? They didn't address the more important questions about quality of life or the actual likelihood of her recover (nil) or the fact that she has the brain capacity of a houseplant.

In other TV news, caught some of America’s Top Dead Girl. They cut the fat girl; what a shocker. Here is this plus-sized girl surrounded for several weeks (or is it hours? Who knows in reality TV since they stretch the season on to 20 times its real time length) by fawnlike girls who subsist on nothing more than Evian and air, and Tyra Banks tells her, “You’ve just lost that sparkle of confidence you used to have when you first arrived.” No shit. I lose self-esteem just from watching the show while eating ginger cookies. Twiggy, the world’s first super model, is a judge and she sat down to give the girls a heart-to-heart talk, explaining to them that before she hit the scene, models were voluptuous, healthy, normal sized girls, but that she was luckily able to change all that to create the first ever heroin chic chic. Her point was that they should embrace their flaws; a way to reinforce this point would’ve been to keep Plus Sized, but they sent her off without even a recommendation to a photographer at More magazine.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Beat Jesus

With the exception of the PBS version of the local radio stations in Philadelphia (XPN), we really don't have an eclectic selection of music to choose from on dial. Since I'm generally in the car for an average of 11 minutes a day (to and from work), this doesn't matter too much, but one of the challenges I face every day is trying to skip over the Jesus stations as quickly as possible. This has always been a problem. Your scanner stops on a song that could be good...Could be some new Emo band or another that you're just not cool enough to recognize within the first three measures. So you keep it on the station and sort of don't pay attention until you start to hear one of the following key words/phrases that tip you off to the fact that you're awash in the love of Jesus:

Hallelujah, My Savior, Lord God (and various permutations of this: God Our Lord, Lord of all Gods, God, You're Lord), He is King, Jesus has Risen, On the Cross, Crown of Thorns, Redemption, Have Mercy on Me, What Would Jesus Do?

Tricky words/phrases that have been in nonsecular songs but still sound suspicious: Save me, Sister Christian, Fiery Pits of Hell, "Papa, Don't Preach," Son of a Preacher Man, Bethlehem, Starry, Starry Night, Crucify Me, I'm on the Way to Shambhala, Peace Train, Here He Comes Again.

Other points of confusion: Country Western music. Usually there's a God thrown in there somewhere, but it's not always the focus. Half fake Christian rock bands like U2, Creed, Clearwater Creedence Revival, Marilyn Manson.

I was fake-saved at least two times in high school to gain the attention of a real Christian boy named Rob who wore high top blue Converse sneakers and was the keyboardist in a Christian rock band that actually toured. I even had a hardcover Bible with see-through pages and I would write (in pencil) little stars by what I thought were particularly signficant Biblical passages. In retrospect, they all centered around my faith as it applied to Rob wanting to make out with me. "For he who hath waited 100 days in patient faith of what is to come so shall he be rewarded by the gold of heaven." (translantation: If I keep my fingers crossed and don't do anything, he'll want to make out with me). "And the woman shall cover her hair with a tablecloth and walk with the grace of angels until she begats many sons of god." (Translation: I should buy that straw hat and wear it to the youth group meeting on Wednesday night and he will fall in love with me). You get the point. We did finally make out on two separate occassions, but neither one of us heard the trumpet of angels and he told one of my guy friends he could never really like me because my boobs were too big. I always took this to mean that my breasts would distract from his relationship with Jesus.

P.S. On a very tangential note, I can't remember if Christopher Reeves is dead or not. I kind of think he did die, but I'm not sure. He used to mean so much to me, when I was a pre-teen watching Superman on the big screen. Now when I think of him, I mostly remember the Onion story after Reeves was in the wheelchair that had a headline like, "Christopher Reeves to be placed on top of the Washington Monument."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Dead People Say the Darndest Things

As part of my job, I hear stories on a weekly and sometimes daily basis about the many, many gruesome and mundane ways that you can die. Because of confidentiality rules, I can't be too specific but here are the top ten ways to become brain dead:

1. You are an electrician/roofer/window washer and frequently climb ladders as part of your job. One day, you slip/lose your balance/are stung by a bee and fall in slow motion to the concrete driveway in front of your five year old daughter (who probably later grows up and becomes a drug addict. See #4).

2. You wake up one day with the worst headache of your life. You complain about it. You take 3 Advil and lie down in the bedroom. Later, a loved one finds you unresponsive with foam on your lips. You are rushed to the emergency room where a CAT scan reveals that you have a blood clot/tumor/hemorrhage in your brain. You should've gone to the hospital right away. They might have been able to save you then.

3. You're a teenage boy and you've been out drinking Pabst with your friends on a Friday night. It's 3 AM, way past your curfew and it's raining. You drive you and your four unrestrained passengers (including the girl you have a crush on) into a telephone pole/embankment/Mac truck.

4. Life has not been easy. You've always been a troubled soul or maybe not; maybe you've always been a good kid, on the honor role in a private Catholic school. In any case, you (either through frequent use or on a whim because you've been doing shots of tequila) decide to shoot up with this really good shit your friend's friend Adam just brought in from New York. You O.D. and at your funeral, everyone says what a great kid you were, so nice to everyone you met.

5. You are a black kid living in Northeast Philadelphia. You will be shot point blank in the face with no exit wound.

6. It's Saturday and you and your family are spending it at the shore with the rest of the Jerseyites. You're hot and tell your spouse that you're going to go in the water for a minute. You wade out into the ocean until you're feet are just barely touching the sandy ground. You take a deep breath, dive into the cold water, have a seizure, inhale tons of water into your lungs, and drown.

7. For years, your family has worried about you because you just can't seem to get it together. You haven't formally been diagnosed with clinical depression or bipolar disorder or schizophrenia or maybe you have been labeled but you're not taking your meds. You are hounded by what Franklin Delano Roosevelt called "the black dog" of depression. You find a jump rope/bottle of tranquilizers/shotgun/paring knife/skyscraper and say sayonara to this cruel world. You are discovered by one of your family members who (like little girl in #1) will never lose the image of your lost and lifeless body).

8. Freak accident. You eat a bunch of roasted apple seeds at a sporting event not realizing that in high concentrations they act like cyanide to your system. You throw a rock at a tree and it bounces off and hits you in the forehead. You step out to get the mail in your socks and are struck by lightning. You slip on that bar of soap you've dropped in the shower approximately 768 times before this and smash your head on the tile. It is senseless, and, for years afterwards, people like to tell the story of your death at cocktail parties.

9. Just don't mess with anything electric. Especially if you're standing in water.

10. You are a pedestrian talking on your cell phone as you cross the street. Or you are a cyclist who doesn't want to mess up her hair by wearing a helmet. Or you are on your new lime green Vespa, thinking of other things. And a Greyhound bus flattens you before you even have a chance to change your course.

The lesson: We will all die, but some ways are worse than others and I vote for heart attack at the age of 80, please.

Friday, October 7, 2005

Subway Terror Alert: Your Metro Card Could be Explosive

David Cross has this great part of his comedy routine where he points out how the Administration raises the terror alert every time Bush or his minions do something horrible (Cross also has a bit about Bush wondering what it will take to get the public outrage and how he decides to eat a Jewish baby just because he can). It's like Wizard of Oz; Look at the scary thing! Look! Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! Like, what should NYC do about the subway terrorists are coming alert? Not ride the train? Ride the train but pee a little whenever a dark-skinned man steps on your car? Answer "I support" to public opinon polls about Bush? And don't forget to be afraid of hurricanes. They can kill! Even though N. Orleans flooded not because of the hurricane itself but b/c of the levees. Still! Watch out for hurricanes. You too might find yourself on your rooftop with your dog and an empty Evian water bottle. Our government and our media work like terrorists too (in more ways than one)using the threat of
disaster to scare everyone into submission.

In brighter news, congratulations to Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise for the best publicity stunt yet to deny homosexuality through artifical insemination or perhaps several painful episodes of intercourse with Hot Teen Boy Camp XXX playing in wide screen TV next to the bed! I used to sort of like Katie Holmes though she does have a simpering sweetness that's annoying and she's constantly sucking in her cheekbones, but now...I just wish she wouldn't walk around with her teeth clamped together in a robotic smile. I get that it's tough for Tom to come out to an American public obsessed with family vaules and saving the '"chirren" from predatory gay men (though statistically speaking, child molesters are more often men also involved in heterosexual relationships. I just made that up, but I think it's true). How many "out" actors exist who still play straight, male lead roles? I can think of zero, male or female. Look at Anne Heche. She starred with Harrison Ford in that dumb movie about a plane crash, then proclaimed her love for Ellen DeGeneres, then was offered nothing until she went non-gay and produced a child to show she likes dick. So, yes, okay, Tom, you don't have many options. Given your situation, I might do the same. But Katie, why, oh, why?

Which kiss is worse? Be suspicious of a man who puts his whole hand on your face during a kiss as if he's trying to block out your features because he's imagining someone more masculine. Or one who covers you entirely to disguise the fact that he's only presses his lips to yours ala a 1940s movie screen kiss. In any case, both kisses look staged and awkward.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

I would like to give Mr. Darcy (as played by Colin Firth) the best bj of his life

If he were, in fact, a real person. It is a cliche, I'm sure, to have a crush on Mr. Darcy from the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice, not to mention the degree of nerdiness it reveals. Firth's Darcy is not handsome in a conventional way; no rippling muscles, eyes are plain brown, same with his curly hair (which has a tendency to frizz) , and his features are more fleshy than chiseled. HOWEVER! I would still fall to my knees in front of him and here are the top 10 reasons why:

1. When Mr. Darcy looks at Elizabeth, he wears an expression that's a combination of intense, heartsick love, bodice-ripping lust, and respectful worship. Also, he does that thing that I love where he steals glances at her when she her attention is elsewhere but holds her gaze for a second when she catches him staring before his pride (see title) causes him to break the glance (reminds me of a line from the first episode of My So-Called Life my friend Karen and I watched before draw-ling class last night where Angela says she'd like someone to say to her, You are so beautiful that it hurts to look at you).

2. That said, it's not that a person wants to be worshipped and loved to death--you don't want to be with someone you could bend around like a rubber doll. He LOVES her, but he's also elusive and awkward and has trouble expressing himself. However, when he finally manages to speak up, he tells her exactly what he thinks, even though he fears that she'll reject him. When she does reject him and basically tell him he's a dick (in Austen language, something like, "I am afraid that your behavior to date has left me with nothing more than feelings of grave displeasure which shall never allow me to return your feelings in kind so long as we are to be acquaintances. You dick"), he accepts it and doesn't insult her or continue to argue.

3. He can ride a horse like nobody's business and manages to look only slightly ridiculous in a top hat.

4. He acts. He strides about with purpose in silly looking white pants, doesn't whine, performs heroic acts without expecting thanks, and stands up to those who insult the people he loves.

5. He is self-reflective and capable of change.

6. He broods. I know that shouldn't be a good quality and wouldn't be attractive in real life, but you must love a man who is so tortured by his love for you that he (1). practices dueling until his wispy forelocks are pinned to his head with sweat (whispering to himself, "I will beat this thing!"); (2). dives into a mossy pond fully clothed (and emerges with his white shirt stuck to his body. Thank you, God, for that). (3). stays up all night writing Elizabeth a letter with a feathered pen that keeps running out of ink, goddamnit. All of which are fairly positive acts. Like, it wouldn't be quite as attractive if he brooded by drinking tons of brandy and sleeping with prostitutes. Even his brooding is refined.

7. His breeches suggest that he is well-hung and if you were to go by Shawn's theory of measuring a man's level of confidence by the size of his penis, you would have to agree that Mr. Darcy will not be a disappointment.

8. He loves dogs or at least loves women who love dogs, as is evidenced by the look of affection her throws Elizabeth's way as she's wrestling in the front yard with a Great Dane or whatever.

9. He admires Elizabeth for the best qualities in herself; that she's independent, playful, witty, not easily intimidated, and not for her weaknesses i.e. he is a feminist.

10. He has dimples. They are subtle and partially hidden by his sideburns but they exist. I am a sucker for dimples.

I mean, just look:

Monday, October 3, 2005

These are the People in My Neighborhood

The day we moved into our new apartment, I met the old lady next door, Virginia. She came outside in her mumu/house dress with the knee high nylons rolled down over her ankles, bedroom slippers and the most unbelievable wig/dead animal planted on top of her head. She called me over and asked my name. I told her. She said, "What? What? I can't hear you!" This went on about five more times. "Annie? Janie? Susan?" I experienced a phenomenon I haven't encountered since about 7th grade--this great desire to burst out laughing at an inappropriate moment (like when you're being yelled at by your chemistry teacher whose fly is undone or when your friend farts during the Lord's Prayer at Church). She didn't seem to notice. She said, "I'm 84, can you believe it? I live with my son. He's 60. He's never been married. Don't tell him I told you that. I'm 86! Fooled you."

Soon after, I noticed that the sidewalk in front of our apartment is host to an inordinate amount those skittish cooing bowling pins known as city pigeons. Virginia likes to toss bread crumbs out to them and watch them peck at the ground. Alternately, she hates having them nearby and chases them off with a broom.

Once when Shawn and I were passing by, she said, "I can't find my cat!" We both stopped. Shawn said, "Oh, he'll come back when he gets hungry." She said, "He just ran away. He's a black cat." The wig on her head is so incredible, I can't accurately describe it. Gray and ratted--it occurs to me now that maybe it's not a wig. It could be her real hair that she hasn't washed or combed in a decade. I said, "What's your cat's name?" She paused for a minute. "Oh, ain't that a shame, I can't remember it. " I said, "We'll check the alleyways for him." She leaned over and kissed me on the cheeks saying, "Oh, you are a sweetheart!" I again almost had a seizure from trying not to laugh. I saw her son a little while later and asked him if the cat had come back. He said, "The cat? The cat is fine. She forgets that he goes down to the basement sometimes." Not long after that, I was sitting in the office and I heard her voice down below; she has this scratchy old lady voice with a slight whistling sound because she's missing several teeth. I couldn't understand what she said, but the guy passing by goes, "Oh, he'll come back when he's hungry!"

I swear to God her hair looks like this

She is also often pleasantly surprised when she sees me unlocking our apartment. She will say "Oh, you live here? You'll love this neighborhood! Just love it!"

Other neighbors: the slinky Siamese cat across the street who hangs out on his front porch on warm days. He will jump on your shoulders if you're not careful, but is otherwise very friendly and cross-eyed.

And then I saw another old lady both days this weekend, also feeding pigeons from her front step. Yesterday, she was sitting in her doorstep in her mumu with her legs askew, reading an old receipt. You could see her underwear.

And thank you, to the couple on Carmac/8th St. who allowed Shawn and I a free live sex show last night. The girl was wearing a bright red sports bra type thing and I thought at first she was just really, really working hard on a treadmill; like, leaning super far forward, but then she straightened up and this guy's head popped up and he got behind her and appeared to be rearranging her. He also wore his shirt. We were standing on the other side of the street, looking up at their third story window, so we didn't actually see any nudity but we did see him get behind her and thrust rapidly again and again about 15 times; didn't look that sexy and didn't last that long. He collapsed on top of her, though all you could see were her legs wrapped around his back. I suggested to Shawn that we applaud. Neither one of us experienced a single tinge of guilt at being that voyeuristic. We didn't clap. I wouldn't want to encourage the guy's poor performance.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Everything Should Be Easy Always

It has come to my ever shrinking attention that I have the patience of a gnat. I blame everyone else for this inability to wait longer than four seconds for any single thing that I want. This quality has recently been highlighted by trying to log onto this site from my home computer which has recently become infected with pop-up boxes due in part to Shawn's downloading "hot live xxx teen Asian girl-on-girl lovefest cum action" videos and gaming tips for Grand Theft auto. And also because I should have some Adaware protection on here which I didn't. It used to be that I'd be happy to have any Internet connection at all and now if I find myself waiting for the screen to download I want to get up and wash my face or do something else rather than wait the 15 seconds it'll take to appear. Same goes for other areas in my life. The coffee person doesn't jump up to take my order and I'm irritated. The car ahead of me on 3rd street has decided to parallel park and I clench my teeth.

I need to become Buddhist, or maybe start mediating though I've tried that before and I have a hard time keeping still; thinking the entire time that I should be doing something else like cleaning the cat litter box.

I don't have time for this even.